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Isaiah 53:3 (NRSVA)
3 He was despised and rejected by others;
a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity;
and as one from whom others hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Before ministry, as part of my work, I used to have to travel to Manchester, one week of every month. I liked to stay in a hotel near the train station. And every night on my way back to the hotel I used to see so many homeless people on the street.
I couldn’t ignore them and started carrying bottles of water, fruit and chocolate bars to share with them. And we’d get into conversation. These men and women had terrible stories of how they were verbally abused, spat on and even physically abused. One man even told me that his tent had been set on fire while he was inside it. It was heartbreaking to see that these men and women living on the streets were used to the abuse and humiliation, used to being looked at with distrust and disdain. It was both humbling and heartbreaking that these men and women were grateful that I had stopped to chat with them, treating them with dignity and respect. So many ignored their plight.
On the way to the cross, our Lord Jesus was spat on, verbally and physically abused. On the cross when he hung in agony, he was derided and mocked. So many who had followed him stayed away… ran away, unable to face his pain, his humiliation. They couldn’t face their Lord who even while he was dying was thinking of others, understanding and forgiving.
Give me the courage to see the painful truth within our world.
Give me the strength to be your active love within the world
LENT FOCUS 6: PRESENCE
Each day this week we will meditate on presence, focusing on a different aspect of the narrative of Holy Week daily.
MONDAY Reflect on how Jesus knows what it is be present to indignity, loneliness and pain and can draw alongside us in genuine empathy in our present moments of difficulty.